My Wife and Family

I recorded my Thanksgiving episode of my podcast this weekend (messituppodcast.com). I don’t need to break the news that 020 has been a crazy different year to anyone. That being said, we still have things to be thankful about, so I invited a small panel of guests and we went through some of the “standard” questions about gratitude.

The first question I posed was what is your “easy thanks”? By that I meant what are the things that you don’t really need think hard about to identify? As I suspected, this question was pretty simple for everyone on the show, myself included.

For me, it was my wife and family. Regardless of what happens in life, my wife and family have continued to stick by me. It means the world to me and so do they.

Just this past week, actually even less that the week, more like over the past 5 days I have dealt with at least two major emotional setbacks. Each time I was emotionally bolstered by love from my family. I am so blessed. Without their support down the years, I might easily find myself in a hopeless tailspin and a very dark place, but they relentlessly give me reason to…

—Rise Up!!

Small Hexi Tile

So this week finds me helping my daughter and son in law fix up the house they just bought. It’s about 80 years old and needs some upgrades.

[Enter Papa]

I came loaded with various tools and construction implements. I a

I brought a lot of hope and encouragement. it’s a big project , but should be fun.

As always, once we got started the problems we solved gave birth to new problems. That’s construction. It’s also recovery. We identify the character defects, then we work on them.

My current problem is a kitchen floor that is to be tiled with small hexagonal tiles. Not easy. Slow, hard work is the outlook for today and tomorrow. But when I’m done, my daughter will be thrilled. The thought of that joy helps me to get down on the floor and…

—Rise Up!!

Uggggh, a whole floor of small hexi’s

Be Better

You have already done it by now. I have. Tens of millions have. Tomorrow is Election Day in America.

This is the least optimistic I’ve ever been on Election Eve. It’s not regarding politicians or outcomes, but about how people handle those outcomes. Our political discourse has become increasingly volatile over the past several years.

The apostle Paul tells us that we should be peaceable in our words and deeds whenever possible. Of course you can take a loose interpretation of the word “possible” or fall back on the old Flip Wilson adage that “the devil made me do it”, but when it comes down to brass tacks, my actions and reactions are decided by me.

I’ve always said that the thing that makes America great is not just that we have an election, but that we can come together after one. It’s on us, people. Let’s cast our votes individually, and then together we can all…

—Rise Up!!

Pushing Through

A little over a week ago I began experiencing severe pain in my hip and back. I’ve dealt with chronic pain and discomfort in those areas for the better part of my life, but the past week was beyond what is my “normal”.

The medical assessment from my daughter said it was bursitis in my hip. Since she’s a PA and does this for a living, I trust her diagnosis. I have found that my hip is a lot like my recovery.

At first I knew something was wrong, but I spent a lot of time denying it. Eventually I accepted that the problem was real, but I tried to deal with it on my own. Finally, I got help.

The comparison doesn’t end there. Just like in recovery, having a “diagnosis” or knowing what the problem was didn’t just magically clear everything up for me. Ok, it’s bursitis, now what?!? It turns out that there’s a lot of work to be done in recovery and in physiology. I had to work my steps in recovery and I’m having to do a lot of physical therapy for my hip and back. And it doesn’t stop when the pain subsides either. No, there is a ton of maintenance work to do now and for the rest of my life.

Well, only if I want to stay healthy, that is…

This morning, the hip still hurts. But when I focus I am able to…

Stand Up Rise Up!!

Holes

I spent the morning digging holes. Shoot, I’ve spent a lot of my life digging holes of one sort or another. Holes are an interesting proposition. They provide a chance to fall in or trip but they also provide the opportunity to build something. My post holes this morning are for a play set for my grandson.

The holes I dug before have often tripped me up. Through my recovery I’ve learned how to fill them in and make ground that’s safe for walking and great for building. My life now is a play set. I can run and play in areas where I used to trip and fall.

Don’t despair when there’s holes. Watch your set and learn how to…

—Rise Up!!

Sold Out

Fall is coming, which means a lot of things. In my family, one of those things is picking apples.

We went out to our favorite You-Pick orchard and saw a chain draped over the driveway. “Sold Out for the Season”. Wow, we hadn’t planned on that.

What to do…?

So we did what we do, we found something else to do. The orchard up the road had apples, and more importantly pies, for sale. The BBQ restaurant up the road had plenty of smoked meats for lunch. The bakery up the road had cookies and pastry. We do what we came to do, but everything worked out.

Don’t take life’s “No” for an answer, there’s always an opportunity to…

—Rise Up!!

Apple Trip 2020

Back!

This week we were able to meet for Celebrate Recovery in person once again. If you haven’t been affected by COVID at this point, you, my friend, are a massive rule breaker! We all know what it’s been like. The isolation and angst has pervaded everyone’s life.

Being back on last Friday night was fantastic. As a leader, I’ve been able to be in the building as we recorded video for our weekly “meetings”. Yet with no one else in the room, it felt hollow. It was good to see people in front of us this week as we did worship. It was great to hear voices singing back at us.

Isolation is still a nasty reality. It will likely be a long time before we are back to doing everything in person, with everyone present. This is not a cry for civil disobedience. I’m not advocating breaking rules and having large groups of people gather where they are not allowed. But I am saying that we all need to find ways to be “together”. Maybe a cup of coffee with a friend. Maybe a small Bible study. Whatever it is, I urge you to try to find some community. When we are alone, we sag, but together we can help each other to…

— Rise Up!!

Birthday!

It’s not my birthday. Not even close. Yet last night when my friends took me out to dinner a scoop of ice cream arrived at the table with clapping and singing.

During the early part of our meal my friend Faith left the table to go take care of something that got in her eye. As it turns out, it was all a clever ruse to go tell the waiter about my 60th birthday.

So let’s examine the facts:

My actual date of birth is 2.22.68, so she’s off by a few months and several years! Also, I’m lactose belligerent, so I can’t have the ice cream.

So what possessed this lady to misconstrue the truth? She knows me. And she knows I love a good gag. One of the reasons she and Dan brought us us here was to help refocus my mind away from the turmoil and hate I’ve encountered over the past few weeks.

Sometimes all you need is a good laugh to help you…

—Rise Up!!

I look GREAT for 60!

Where There’s Smoke…

Today your MoM is flying into Portland. Yes. With fires and protests and everything, I am purposely flying to Oregon.

It’s not on a lark or a pleasure trip. This time we have a dear friend who is having surgery tomorrow so we are flying up to help with the family. We know that the smoke and fires are pretty bad. We’ve seen the evacuation maps and his house is close (and getting closer). He even sent a picture of the smoke outside his front door and it is thick.

So why do we do it? Easy- family. We go to support family. And by lifting them, we also get to…

—Rise Up!!

“Manual” Labor Day

I woke up to a sky filled with smoke today. It’s been like this in California for a couple of weeks now. Today, the smoke is blotting out the sun to a large extent. It feels a lot like an eclipse. But it’s Labor Day in America, and for me and my “son” that actually turns into “Manual Labor Day”.

In years past we have laid brick, out in retaining walls, etc. Whatever it is, we traditionally do some sort of work in his yard each year. This year was no different, even with the smoke that fills our valley today.

After masking up we got down to business and started mixing concrete. Our project for 2020 was to backfill around his new planter boxes. Not too bad, but still, manual labor on a holiday.

An hour and a half later I’m sitting on my couch writing this. It really wasn’t too bad. The yard looks a bit nicer and I got to help a friend. Even the smoke wasn’t that awful since I had a mask. Now all that’s left is to clean up then go back later for so smoked beef burritos and games.

Life can get you down, if you let it. I really didn’t relish the thought of getting up early on a holiday to go toil in someone else’s yard. I didn’t plan on getting a blister on my little soft hands. But I do love serving others. And you know that I love to…

—Rise Up!!